Nothing whiter than strawberry blossoms.
And there was June laying itself around my young hips
like thin gauze. I remember
sweat beaded at his forehead, his eyes
on some mark beyond me as he heaved
the rhythm of a berry picker. The back of my hand
a print in the dirt. He pinned them
there like a mole under a dog’s paw.
I birthed her. And when I think back it is like
a nearly drowned head cutting the water’s surface.
I held her to my chest the way any mammal knows to do.
There was something ancient in me that stared at her. Knew
how to sing at her, knew to make our heartbeats one. Knew to
kick and scream when they took her.
There was never an Eden. There was
Virginia, which I like
to think of as a man with thick fingers
that interpret me like braille under their rocky edges.
Mrs. Dobbs says we blow
Problems into the wind like dandelion fluff.
But I am the boat between Scylla and Charybdis.
Mrs. Dobbs said stay the straight and narrow.
If they would listen to me I would tell them,
sometimes you are so much in something you can’t see it.
The point to which any animal can know its own animality.
It didn’t matter what dress I wore. They knew
the outcome like Greek deities. Me, the game piece
my insides the moving parts. I will tell the story like this:
any river begins as something you can walk across.